Putucusi is a large mountain across the river from Machu Picchu, a little down the road from Aguas Calientes. After going to Machu Picchu and getting a good break in the weather for our hike up Wayna Picchu, we decided to use our extra day (train tickets to and from Aguas Calientes are bought in advance) to climb Putucusi.
We bought some snacks in town and hiked down the train tracks to where the trail enters the jungle from the train tracks. It was hot and humid, as jungles typically are, with tons of jungle vegetation: vines, mosses, ferns, epiphytes (plants that grow on other plants), orchids, and bromelides. We quickly came to our first wooden ladder for the climb up, which was what we expected, it was about one and a half stories high. But the next ladder was about five stories tall!!! It just kept going up, with a small break spot in the middle. It rounded a small corner as it went up and you lost sight of the person by the time they reached the top.
In all, we climbed up seven of these ladders, and we estimated they totaled about 15 stories worth of elevation gain. Then we emerging from the jungle to make the final climb to the top without cover, and the sun was hot. We finally made it to the top, with great views and some snacks after our hard hike.
Once we made it back to town, we feasted on some excellent Chinese food (Peru has a large population of both Chinese and Japanese, so Asian food is common) at a whole in the wall chicken rotisserie/Chinese food place we found well away from the ‘gringo alley.’